Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) gets brought down by Arizona Cardinals linebacker Markus Golden (44) during fourth quarter action. The Jacksonville Jaguars hosted the Arizona Cardinals at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, FL Sunday, September 26, 2021. The Jaguars went into the half with a 13 to 7 lead but fell to the Cardinals with a final score of 19 to 31. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]

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Past two top picks clash as Jags’ Trevor Lawrence faces Bengals’ Joe Burrow

Trevor Lawrence has already lost more games in the NFL than he did in 36 college starts.

Lawrence, who also is throwing interceptions at a much higher rate, will try to limit the miscues when his Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3) visit the Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) on Thursday night.

It has been a rocky start for the No. 1 overall draft pick, who is tied for the NFL lead of seven interceptions with fellow rookie Zach Wilson of the New York Jets. Lawrence tossed just 17 interceptions in three seasons at Clemson while compiling a 34-2 record as a starter.

The learning curve continues during a short week, but Lawrence maintains he will improve. He threw three interceptions during his NFL debut against the Houston Texans and followed up with two apiece against the Denver Broncos and Arizona Cardinals.

“Everybody’s different and everybody’s situation is different,” Lawrence said. “I’m also not expecting this thing to take a year or two until I start taking care of the ball and playing better. I’m trending that way right now, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season and feel like there’s a lot of work for us to do and a lot of games we can win.

“I’m going to accelerate that as fast as possible. I haven’t played my best, but I know there’s a lot of good football ahead.”

Lawrence owns the poorest completion percentage in the NFL (.542) among quarterbacks who have thrown at least 40 passes. He has 669 passing yards and five touchdown tosses.

Lawrence will be sharing the national television stage with Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2020 draft.

Burrow spent three seasons at Ohio State — where Jaguars coach Urban Meyer was head man — before transferring to LSU and eventually winning the 2019 Heisman Trophy.

“We’ve stayed in touch,” Meyer said on Tuesday. “I’ve talked to (Burrow) a couple of times about Trevor. Our relationship is fantastic and he’s fantastic.”

Burrow’s rookie season was cut short when he tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee in the Bengals’ 10th game in 2020.

This season, he has thrown for 640 yards and seven touchdowns with four interceptions.

Last Sunday, Burrow completed 14 of 18 passes for 172 yards with three touchdowns and one pick in an impressive 24-10 road win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“It wasn’t perfect, we have a lot of room to improve on offense, but we got the job done,” Burrow said of the victory. “You continue to build the winning culture. We’re starting to understand how to win.”

The result is prompting optimism that the Bengals could be in the mix for an AFC playoff spot after missing out the past five campaigns.

But third-year coach Zac Taylor knows his team can quickly fall to 2-2 if it isn’t focused on the Jaguars.

“We’re on a national stage here in a couple of days, and we better be ready,” Taylor said. “We know what life in this league is. I don’t care what Jacksonville’s record is. We better play our best football because they’ve got a lot of talent on that roster.”

Jacksonville’s defense has struggled, ranking 28th in opponents’ scoring (30.3 points per game) and 29th in total defense (418.0 yards per game).

One day after a 31-19 home loss to the Cardinals on Sunday, the Jaguars dealt starting cornerback C.J. Henderson (the ninth overall pick in 2020) to the Carolina Panthers for tight end Dan Arnold.

The move occurred with cornerback Tre Herndon (knee) expected to be available this week for the first time this season. He was a full practice participant on Tuesday.

Cincinnati cornerback Chidobe Awuzie (groin), safety Jessie Bates (neck), receiver Tee Higgins (shoulder) and guard Xavier Su’a-Filo (knee) missed practice on both Monday and Tuesday.

–Field Level Media

The roads are empty around downtown and the Superdome as the effects of Hurricane Ida begin to be felt in New Orleans on Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021.

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Saints-Packers moved to Jacksonville for Week 1

The New Orleans Saints will host their NFL season-opener against the Green Bay Packers in Jacksonville, Fla.

In a statement on Wednesday, the NFL said the decision was made in the interest of public safety.

“The decision was made, in consultation with state and local officials and both clubs, in the interest of public safety,” the league announced. “Details on tickets and other specifics, including how fans can continue to help in the recovery effort, will be announced in the days ahead.”

The Saints were forced to find a new venue as New Orleans continues to wade through the complications in the region following Hurricane Ida.

Kickoff will be 4:25 ET at TIAA Bank Field, home to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags open their season on the road in Houston.

Saints owner Gayle Benson made an initial $1 million donation to the Gulf Coast Renewal Fund.

The Saints evacuated to and have been practicing in Dallas, however a concert at AT&T Stadium prevented them from playing the game at the Cowboys’ home stadium.

Head coach Sean Payton on Tuesday said the Saints are preparing as if they won’t be able to return to Louisiana for the first four weeks of the regular season. The Saints are expected to practice in September at SMU or TCU, where Payton’s son is a student.

Though the Superdome avoided structural damage, the city of New Orleans remains largely without power and water consumption has become an issue in the aftermath of the massive storm.

The hurricane made landfall Sunday as a Category 4 storm with winds of 150 mph.

–Field Level Media

Feb 12, 2021; Clemson, SC, USA;  Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence works out as Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer (right) looks on during Pro Day in Clemson, South Carolina. Mandatory Credit: David Platt/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports

Jaguars GM will ‘hold tight’ to No. 1 pick, ignore trade offers

Try as teams might, the Jacksonville Jaguars are not planning to part with the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Jacksonville is expected to select Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence first overall next Thursday when the draft begins with Jacksonville on the clock for the first time under the power structure of general manager Trent Baalke and head coach Urban Meyer.

“We’ve fielded a couple of calls, but I think we’re going to hold tight,” Baalke said of trade interest in the No. 1 pick. “Again that decision is made organizationally and our ownership is involved with that as well.”

Meyer claimed Wednesday in the joint video conference the Jaguars haven’t finalized plans for the top pick. He said that could come this week during a meeting with owner Shad Khan.

“Ultimately, the owner is going to pull that ticket on that one,” Meyer said. “We’re going to have a great meeting and I imagine we’ll get closer to a decision.”

The rest of the world expects Lawrence to go No. 1, including oddsmakers.

Lawrence is a -10000 favorite at PointsBet to be the top pick, odds that were much shorter one year ago — a mere -305, in fact. BYU quarterback Zach Wilson has the next-best odds to be the first pick at +1300.

Seemingly pre-ordained for the No. 1 slot since his fantastic freshman season, Lawrence passed for 10,098 yards and 90 touchdowns with 17 interceptions for the Tigers. He ended his college career at 34-2, third-best all-time among quarterbacks with at least 30 starts (Ken Dorsey and Matt Leinart are first and second).

Meyer was coaxed out of retirement and Baalke joined the franchise after previously serving as a scout and general manager of the San Francisco 49ers.

They’ve spent hours with Lawrence and evaluating his game, while also tapping into those closest to him, former teammates and coaches, to erase any hidden concern about his future.

“No negatives,” Baalke said of what he found researching and scouting Lawrence. “You’re always looking for the stars to align when you’re looking at prospects — whether that be from a physical, mental, character … whatever the case may be. With his situation, like many others in this draft, the stars all align. And that’s what you’re looking for.”

The Jaguars have 10 picks in the 2021 draft. They also pick 25th in the first round — compensation for cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who was traded to the Rams — and 33rd, the top pick in the second round, which begins Friday.

Meyer said his focus is on speed and “immediate value” as the Jaguars attempt to climb from the AFC South basement.

Jacksonville has drafted quarterbacks in the top 10 before, dating to Byron Leftwich (seventh overall in 2003), but the Jaguars’ recent history in this territory is dicey.

They took Blake Bortles third in 2014, Blaine Gabbert 10th in 2011 and will be selecting in the top 10 for the 13th time since 2008.

–Field Level Media

Seven From Sunday - Week 17

NFL Week 5 Football Props: Jaguars vs. Chiefs

Last week, the Chiefs played from behind for the first time this season, bringing into question their ability to play with their backs against the wall. Down 10 with just under 13 left in the 4th quarter, Patrick Mahomes led the Chiefs on 2 impressive touchdown drives, converting on multiple 3rd down conversions (including a left handed pass to Tyreek Hill). Getting the ball back with 1:39, Denver put together an impressive drive but were unable to punch it in. Kansas City Faithful were certainly happy that their young quarterback was able to remain calm and composed when faced with a 10 point 4th-quarter deficit. Keep in mind, this was Mahomes worst performance of the season and yet he still tossed for over 300 yards and 1 touchdown (and ran one in from 8 yards out).

The Jacksonville Jaguars are also putting together a nice season, losing only to their divisional rivals the Titans. They aren’t getting the attention that the Rams and Chiefs are seeing, but their commanding win over New England in week 2 certainly keeps them on everyone’s radar. Jalen Ramsey is considered by many to be the best corner in football, and his matchup this week with Tyreek Hill has been anticipated by everyone. Can the rest of their defense keep up with all of Kansas City’s offensive weapons?

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Jaguars vs. Chiefs Props

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Justin Blackmon arrested, charged with marijuana possession

<p> Justin Blackmon is an immensely talented wide receiver. But Blackmon hasn't been able to stay out of trouble, which has derailed what should be a promising career in the NFL.</p> <p> Still serving an indefinite suspension from the NFL for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, Blackmon may have put the hopes of getting back into the NFL any time soon in jeopardy. On Wednesday, Blackmon was arrested in Oklahoma for marijuana possession, <a href="http://www.newson6.com/story/26102571/former-osu-football-star-justin-blackmon-arrested-in-edmond">according to Tulsa's Channel 6 News</a>.</p> <p> The report states that Blackmon was pulled over in a traffic stop, to which a police officer smelled marijuana. Upon searching Blackmon's vehicle, the cop found some marijuana and arrested the former Oklahoma State receiver. </p> <p> In 2012, Blackmon was selected with the fifth-overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Though he's shown flashes of football brilliance, he's never been able to give the Jaguars much due to his off-field troubles. He's had two prior drunk driving arrests and was given an indefinite suspension after the first four games in 2013. </p> <p> Unless Blackmon can completely turn around his life at this point, his career in the NFL is in serious doubt.</p> <p> Follow me on Twitter: <a href="http://twitter.com/jasonhbutt">@JasonHButt</a></p>